DIY: Pendant Lamps

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If, like me, you’re living in a house that was built over a hundred years ago, chances are you also have some pretty dim built-in fixtures and could use an additional burst of light. However, light fixtures can be surprisingly expensive and/or a pain in the butt to install. The whole thing can make you want to just clip a few bare bulbs to the bookcases and call it a day. Fortunately, you can fine-tune your lighting on your own terms with some helpful DIY options like pendant lamps.

Pendant lamps are actually something I’ve been wanting to make for my own living room for years now, because they’re a super easy way to add some gentle light and neat textures to a room. All you’ll need are several balls roughly the size you want your pendant to be (or, alternatively, balloons that you can blow to the appropriate size), string or yarn, some paper mache or wallpaper paste, glue, and vaseline. Cover your ball or balloon in the vaseline, then dip your string in your paste or paper mache and wrap around the ball until you’ve covered it with string. Give it about 24 hours to dry, then deflate the ball or pop the balloon and carefully work it out of the pendant. Glue down any loose spots wiggle some space open for a bulb to fit through and you’re set. Pendants can be made any size, or cover almost any kind of light fixture including strings of lights, or lights placed on a table. They can also be spray painted to match your décor.

Alternatively, you can create a slightly more feminine version by using lace doilies instead of string, or go industrial and use galvanized wire (balls might work to create this shape but balloons probably will not, also you can always try to free hand it!). Or, if you’re rushed (or lazy) you can always just cover a paper lantern in fake flowers or pom-pomps for a simple but elegant look. On the other hand, if you’ve got a slew of time, you might prefer trying your hand at the fish scale pendant lamp which looks gorgeous and super-involved until you realize it’s just paper circles dyed in Rit, coated in paraffin, and glued to a paper lantern. Now that’s a bright idea.



Images courtesy ReadyMade, DosFamily, Curbly and DesignSponge

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.